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February 28, 2020
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Tips on improving your free-to-play in-game store

by Vasiliy Sabirov on 01/16/20 10:15:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.



In-game stores are very important for all game developers because this is one of the ways they monetize their products.

Users like good in-game stores, they often go there and easily find what they need at the moment. But sometimes developers place the store in a position where no one can find it. That’s why if you experience troubles with selling items, the first thing you need to do is to check the store visibility in the interface.


What to sell in an in-game store?

To understand that, you need to segment your audience.

  • On paying capacity. Here we have whales (active spenders), dolphins (mid-range spenders) and minnows (low-range spenders).

  • On activity in the game. Here we can use Bartle's player types: socializer, explorer, achiever, killer.

  • On game progress. A player at the beginning of the game needs one set of items, but after he reaches certain progress, he will need a very different set.

You need to divide all your players into segments and create the items they are most likely to buy. This is what a good game designer can do.

Game shop


How to organize an in-game store

Let’s take a look at a typical store. It has:

  • Categories. Your store needs to have as many categories as suffices depending on the game genre. Some may have hard and soft currency only, other games may have some stores with several categories in each.

  • Items. You should have no more than six items in focus if you want to avoid the paradox of choice.


How to rank items

You need to use a targeted approach here. It is better to rank items from the most expensive to the cheapest for the high-paying users (whales) and do it vice versa for players who pay less (minnows). But there are some exceptions, e.g. minnows never buy cosmetics, but they can purchase something very useful like a booster. Anyway, you need to do A/B tests to better understand your audience.

in-game store


In-game store pricing

A typical in-game bank has, on average, six positions. The most popular are:


Before entering the market with a new game, you need to analyze the prices in similar games. If you target minnows and dolphins, you’d better take a look at their average payment. If you target a high-paying VIP audience, you can set higher prices than an average payment of whales.

If you doubt the prices in your in-game store, you can take a look at the prices of basic goods and marketing ideas of your target market. For example, people in some countries are used to big discounts, in other countries, they prefer to buy 2 for 1 and so on.


Marketing moves

In the in-game stores you can use all the conventional marketing moves:

  • If the price is not high, you can write it with .99.

It is easier to sell a $99.99 good if you write the first two numbers of the price in big letters and the last two - in small. If you write all four of them in the same size letters then you may lose some profit. In this case, you’d better write $100 rather than $99.99.

  • If the price already has three numbers, then you should not add .99 at the end because it will make the price look too high (e.g. $139 is better than $139.99).

  • You’d better show the discount on actual figures rather than in percentage (e.g. $12 from $200 is better than the 6% discount).


Example of a good store


I think that the in-game store of Clash Royale is really good because it is:

  • convenient

  • not overloaded

  • well-structured

  • has a lot of interesting items

  • customizable

But it also has some shortcomings:

  • there are no examples of what you can buy for a certain sum of money

  • there is no fictional purchase

Even more tips you can find in devtodev article.

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